Citizen Hitchens

I think my on-again, off-again interest in Hitchens results from this: in Hitchens we find a distilled logic of the confused, often self-indulgent, and vain politics that emerged with the collapse of the New Left. (Yes, there are some good things to say about it.) If we find in the politics of people like Leszek Kołakowski and Milovan Djilas symbols of the tragedy of the Old Left, and farce in figures like Eldridge Cleaver, then in Hitchens I personally find the surrealism of the politics that started sometime in the 1970s. From an interview in Radar on the occassion of his naturalization:

You’ve lived in this country since 1981. Why did you recently decide to become an American citizen? Why did I do it?

It was a post-September 11th feeling. I realized that I’ve been living here a long time and that this country, this society, had been pretty welcoming to me. I was just cruising along with a green card and felt like I was cheating on my dues.

And if you want to argue for war, you do it in two ways: One is to argue there is a war, which I think everyone believes, and the other is that we should be fighting in it, which means advocating in public that people go to Iraq or Afghanistan. I felt I probably ought to be a citizen for that.

Now that you’re able to vote in the next presidential election, are you going to register for a particular political party?

No. I don’t have any party allegiances. Before I could vote, I wrote in a column that I was for the re-election of George Bush, Sr. That was the first time I ever wrote or said in public who I was for. If George Bush, Sr., had that second term, I think we would be living in a better world in lots of ways. One of which would have been, we never would have elected George Bush, Jr. People forget that. People who always vote Democratic don’t realize that if they didn’t want this George Bush they should have voted for the last. They think of it as zero-sum: You’re either an elephant or a donkey. I hate the whole mentality. It produces boring parties and bad politicians. I’ve never been a supporter of either party in America. My line is that I dislike the Republicans, but I despise the Democrats.